Firstrade brokerage review: pros and cons, fees, minimums, ratings, trading platform/tools, research tools, education, and customer service.


Firstrade Overview

Rating: Firstrade brokerage firm rating

  • Stocks & ETFs: $2.95
  • Options: $2.95 + $0.50 per contract
  • Mutual Funds: $9.95

Firstrade Review

Firstrade is a New York-based brokerage firm that has been offering investors low-cost services since 1985. It currently offers stock and option trades for $2.95. The company also offers investors the ability to trade ETF's, mutual funds, and bonds. With retirement products and mobile trading, Firstrade is one of the top brokers worth considering.


Firstrade Trading Commissions Review

Firstrade’s charge for trading stocks and ETF’s is only $2.95, definitely placing the broker in the deep discount category. Options are an extra $0.50 per contract. Stocks under $1 come with a half penny per share surcharge on top of regular commissions. The firm does have live representatives who can assist customers with their trades. Choosing this route costs $19.95, an additional $17.

Brokerage accounts at Firstrade carry no inactivity fees or account maintenance fees. The minimum initial deposit to open a brokerage account is zero, making this broker a good firm to try out.

Firstrade does offer its clients the ability to trade on margin. Currently, margin debits of less than $10,000 cost 8.50%, and those over $1,000,000 are 4.5%. These rates are among the lowest in the industry.

Firstrade offers a large selection of mutual funds, some of which come with no transaction fee. Unfortunately, the broker's screener does not offer the ability to search for NTF funds. Load funds carry no transaction fee. No-load mutual funds that do carry a transaction fee are only $9.95 (this fee applies to both the sell and buy ends). Some funds are free to trade, having neither load nor transaction fee.


Firstrade Research and Education Review

Research tools are on the moderate side at Firstrade.com. The broker uses data from Morningstar - leader in mutual funds ratings. There are no third-party reports available besides Morningstar publications.

Firstrade offers investment education on a section of their website called Education Center. Here traders will find articles and videos on a selection of financial topics, such as stocks, options, and ETF's. There's also a handy glossary.


FirstTrade Review


Unlike Fidelity, TD Ameritrade, and Schwab, Firstrade does not have any local brick-and-mortar branches to assist customers who need some guidance.

This low-cost broker does offer its customers some useful information on retirement and education planning. On the Firstrade web site, clients can find articles on IRA's, personal finance topics, and education savings accounts.


FirstTrade Review


Firstrade Customer Service Review

Firstrade can be contacted via an on-line chat system, phone, fax, e-mail, or snail mail. Phone and chat service are available Monday through Friday, 8:00 am - 6:00 pm EST.

The broker does have office hours on Saturday afternoon at their headquarters in Flushing, New York.


Firstrade Trading Tools Review

Firstrade’s web site is very well designed and easy to use. Using the web browser, traders can place orders for a variety of securities, such as stocks, options, mutual funds, and ETF’s.


FirstTrade Review


At the bottom of the web browser is a handy little trading system that allows investors to place long and short orders for stocks, ETF's, and options. Firstrade calls it the Quick Bar. It displays important information, such as bid-ask spread, and the day's volume. Clicking on "option chain" on the Quick Bar will also display option chain information for the selected stock.


First Trade Review


Firstrade Mobile Trading Features Review

Firstrade has applications for Android and Apple. The interface is intuitive and easy to use. Traders can place an order, call customer service, and review account and position data.


Firstrade Review


Promotion Offer

Up to $300 Cash Rewards + 500 Free Trades.


Firstrade Cash Management Features Review

Firstrade offers a Cash Management Account (CMA). It requires a steep $25,000 opening deposit. Furthermore, a Visa gold card comes with $30 fee, and adding checks will be another $30.


Firstrade Advantages

Firstrade offers good securities trading services and customer support at a rock-bottom commission of $2.95. This is much lower than at the majority of online brokers, such as Schwab ($4.95), TD Ameritrade ($6.95), and Fidelity Investments ($4.95). Add to this the lowest pricing on mutual funds and some of the best margin rates, and it's no wonder this broker draws lots of new customers.

Aside from great commissions, there are a lot of services at Firstrade that are available to clients for free. These include dividend reinvestment, IRA's, and 700 ETF's. Furthermore, the broker's mobile trading app will appeal to busy investors on the go.


Firstrade Disadvantages

The lack of 24/7 customer service is a major letdown in today's fast-paced world. Investors have access to non-stop service at other brokers, such as TD Ameritrade and Fidelity.

Firstrade offers only 700 ETF's that come with no trading fee. Some brokers, such as TD Ameritrade, offer 296 ETF's that are free to trade.

Other products, such as futures and forex are not available at this brokerage firm.

Firstrade's policies on its checking account, such as paying for the Visa debit card, could be a turn off to customers who are accustomed to getting such services for free from higher priced brokers.


Firstrade Review Summary

Firstrade offers securities trading at the lowest cost that many investors will find irresistible. Traders who need cash management features, professional trading platform, or extensive research capabilities would do better elsewhere.


Firstrade Incentive to Open Account

Up to $300 Cash Rewards + 500 Free Trades.

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Firstrade Commissions

InvestmentsPrice
Stocks and ETFs $2.95; for stocks at or under $2 and trades with over 5,000 shares, add 0.5 cent per share for the entire order
Stocks, ETFs, and mutual funds broker assisted $19.95
Options $2.95 + $0.50 per contract
Mutual funds $9.95
Treasury Bills, Notes, Municipal and Agency Bonds, Zeros & Strips net yield basis
CDs $30 for primary market CDs, net yield basis for secondary market CDs


Firstrade Account Fees

FeeAmount
IRA Setup Fee$0
Annual IRA Fee$0
Roth IRA conversion or Recharacterization Fee$25
Full Account Transfer Out$75
Partial Account Transfer Out$25
Outgoing Wire Fees (Domestic)$30
Outgoing Wire Fees (International)$50
Account Closing Fee$0


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Firstrade reviewed by TopRatedFirms.com Rating: 4.5